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Keeping it Local - Five Pikes & Hamsterley Common

Keeping it Local - Five Pikes & Hamsterley Common


Postby Christo1979 » Sun May 24, 2020 4:21 pm

Date walked: 16/05/2020

Time taken: 3.75

Distance: 16 km

Ascent: 408m

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The lifting of certain restrictions in England meant that I finally started to look beyond my own immediate area for walking and exercise, but of course I didn't want to travel too far, and I wanted to avoid contact with others as much as possible. Weardale is a fairly short drive from Gateshead, and with the landscape being one of smoothly undulating hills, rarely exceeding 500m, I felt safe enough to wander there without putting others at risk. That said, this first substantial walk in two months still had me feeling like a naughty school boy, doing something I oughtn't to be doing.

The walk started at the little car park near Little Eggles Beck. The weather was balmy, the breeze gentle and warm, the moorland colours spectacular. Hardly a soul in sight. Good paths take you across various moorland areas on this edge of Weardale, so the gentle ascent towards the first little hill of the day, Pawlaw Pike, was an easy one. The views from some of these tiny hills are quite spectacular, and as I enjoyed the first vista in some time, it was lovely to hear nothing but the electronic calls of Lapwings, and the disgruntled rumblings of Grouse. Easy walking on an estate track led me past Five Pikes, where I left the track and trotted up to the trig point at 478m, then the currick just below.

ImageCurrick on Five Pikes by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

ImagePikeston Fell by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

Returning to the track, it was a long and gradual descent to a lush little spot marked 'Meeting of the Grains' on my OS map. This is a most unexpected little wooded glade, surrounded on all sides by moorland, and with a babbling stream running through it. It struck me as a good camp site - duly noted on the map for future visits.

ImageMeeting of the Grains by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

ImageResting at Meeting of the Grains by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

After a rest by the stream, it was up the steep little hillside and back on to moorland paths. I was now heading across Hamsterley Common, and soon passed through what seemed like a rarely-used gate and entered the northern edge of Hamsterley Forest. Strange to think I hadn't set foot in this beautiful forest since I was a child - I guess we're all learning to appreciate what is on our doorstep at the moment. The path gradually dropped to a a clearing, where a sign warned of a 'dangerous descent' and 'stream crossing'. I peered over the edge into the valley below, and decided that whoever made the sign was rather overcautious. A pleasant trot took me down the slope, and there were stepping stones across what was, to be honest, an almost dried-up stream. After this it was up on to a forestry track, which snaked its way through the forest again, to emerge at Sharnberry Beck.

ImageHamsterley Forest by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

The track now followed the beck past the remains of old mines and then some modern shooting huts, before leading straight back to the little car park. This pleasant walk was my first real outing in some time, but I have already been back up to Weardale for another couple of walks - it is a beautiful spot, and a shame that it took lockdown for me to discover it.
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Christo1979
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Re: Keeping it Local - Five Pikes & Hamsterley Common

Postby Arthurs Eat » Wed May 27, 2020 7:18 am

Great report. I'm a bit envious that your able to get out and about, but hopefully that will change for us up here shortly. Take care.
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Arthurs Eat
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Re: Keeping it Local - Five Pikes & Hamsterley Common

Postby trailmasher » Wed May 27, 2020 6:58 pm

Nice one Christo and some great shots there especially the one with the old railway goods wagon :clap: Like you I'm just beginning to wander further afield albeit with a guilt complex, as though I'm cheating somehow :?
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trailmasher
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Re: Keeping it Local - Five Pikes & Hamsterley Common

Postby Christo1979 » Sun Jun 07, 2020 2:52 pm

Arthurs Eat wrote:Great report. I'm a bit envious that your able to get out and about, but hopefully that will change for us up here shortly. Take care.


Thank you! Yes, let's hope things ease soon north of the border for you guys. It still feels 'wrong' heading out to the hills even here, but I've managed a few more walks since this report.
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Christo1979
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Grahams:31   Donalds:89
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Joined: Oct 21, 2017
Location: Gateshead

Re: Keeping it Local - Five Pikes & Hamsterley Common

Postby Christo1979 » Sun Jun 07, 2020 2:55 pm

trailmasher wrote:Nice one Christo and some great shots there especially the one with the old railway goods wagon :clap: Like you I'm just beginning to wander further afield albeit with a guilt complex, as though I'm cheating somehow :?


Cheers Trailmasher, hope you're still getting out! I've ventured further in the North Pennines and the northern fringes of the Yorkshire Dales, but still feel guilty :shock:
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Christo1979
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Posts: 202
Munros:12   Corbetts:34
Grahams:31   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:94   Hewitts:134
Wainwrights:157   Islands:25
Joined: Oct 21, 2017
Location: Gateshead

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